The Waterloo Warriors football team has been placing a lot of emphasis on the word “rebuilding” these past months, first with the announcement of Chris Bertoia as the head coach and now with the announcement of the coaching staff for the 2015 season. </p>
One of the new names added to the coaching list is that of former Hamilton Tiger-Cats long snapper; Matt Robichaud, filling in as the Warriors’ new defensive co-ordinator and assistant strength and conditioning coach. Robichaud’s previous coaching experiences includes being the linebackers coach with the London Jr. Mustangs, as well as six seasons as defensive and special teams co-ordinator with the Burlington Stampeders. Robichaud also played nine seasons in the Canadian Football League with both Ottawa and Hamilton.
Another new addition to the coaching staff is Ryan Pyear as the pass game co-ordinator and quarterback’s coach. Pyear spent seven seasons as offensive co-ordinator with the Laurier Golden Hawks. Pyear is also the current director of undergraduate recruitment in the Faculty of Engineering at UW.
Nial Both and John Sullivan will return as coaches for the 2015 season, both as recruiting co-ordinator and defensive backs coach and Sullivan as special teams co-ordinator, after being away for four years working the same position at the Kitchener Resurrection High School from 2012 to 2014.
Coaches Marshall Bingeman and Matt Fraser remain as assistant coach and offensive line coach. This will be Bingeman’s 28th season as assistant coach with the Warriors — he served as interim head coach after Joe Paopao’s resignation. Tony Chris will also return as the running backs coach and has served as the team’s doctor for 22 years.
Andrew MacGregor will work as the receivers coach, while Paul Kowalik will return for his fourth season with the Warriors as the linebacker coach. Kowalik has also worked as a recruiter for UW. The defensive line coach position will be fulfilled by Rob McMurren, who is coming back to the Warriors after a two-year hiatus.
The Warriors had a disappointing 2014 season,winning only one game out of eight, placing them in second last in the OUA standings with two points, just ahead of York.
One of the main goals of the new coaching staff “is to improve the reputation and mentality of the football program, and also improve our reputation on campus and also improve our reputation throughout the community,” said Bertoia. When questioned about the main changes he plans to bring to the program with the new coaching staff, Bertoia said, “The main goal is to change the culture into a winning culture; we do that through our attitude, having a positive attitude. Two things we control are our attitude and effort and that is what we are doing moving forward.”
The Warriors will be announcing their new recruits March 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Fed Hall. When questioned about the new recruits and how they will impact the team, Bertoia said, “We are excited, but we got a little bit of a late start in recruiting. We are very excited about the class we have been able to assemble for September 2015 and we have addressed some of our needs on both the offensive and defensive line, and some of the skilled positions as well. Overall, we are happy at this point with the class we assembled during this past eight weeks.”
Coach Bertoia also said, in regards to the new team, “Our mentality right now is that we have a clean slate; we are hoping everybody can see the positive changes that have been creating during the past eight weeks and we are trying to do things bigger and better.”
The Warriors’ season begins August 30, where they will be challenged by the Guelph Gryphons.